REGARDING STALINIST AESTHETICS. Of course Noam Scheiber's all wrong about Stephen Colbert's performance on Saturday, but his invocation of "Stalinist aesthetics" provides the pretext to discuss another burning politico-cultural issue: Neil Young's new album.
MEXICO'S NON-DECRIMINALIZATION. You may have heard that Mexico is legalizing drugs. Certainly, I've seen that reported in the press. The thing is, this is apparently not true and much less is changing than most people think. Mark Kleimanexplains.
The New York Times has run many excellent articles over the years describing various forms of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry. (The latest describes the battle over monitoring the prescribing practices of individual physicians.) The one thing missing from these articles is any economic analysis.
I just heard economics commentator Chris Farrell on Marketplace talking about the United States open border immigration policy, under which ambitious hardworking immigrants can freely enter the country. Excuse me, but what planet is this guy on?
Open borders mean that a Mexican doctor, an Indian lawyer, a Brazilian economics commentator can come across the border in any form of transportation they like, and work wherever they like, at whatever pay they are willing to accept.
MY POINT EXACTLY. I think Fast Leon's making my case for me. Best as I can tell, genocide isn't the issue in Sudan at this point. Rather, the two sides are wrangling over the terms of a political resolution to the conflict. The United States has a point of view that's more favorable to the Darfur rebel groups than does the African Union, and the rebels are engaged in tactical gambits to try and win more concessions. Perhaps the American position on this is warranted, but either way it's just not the case that Khartoum is hell-bent on perpetuating the slaughter and only unilateral use of force -- or even increased pressure on the Sudanese government in any form -- can make it stop.
MORE ON ABUJA. Just to respond to Matt, this update on the Abuja negotiations from the Sudan Tribune seems to indicate that the rebels� initial rejection of an African Union draft accord was a tactically wise move. Since the U.S. delegation arrived on Monday, the A.U. draft has been scrapped. It seems that Robert Zoellick and Co. have effectively sidelined the A.U., making the Abuja agreement a thoroughly American affair.
DAVID IGNATIUS: MCCAIN'S A MAVERICK BECAUSE I LIKE HIM. A quick point to add to Matt's deft skewering of David Ignatius's column on John McCain. What's amazing is that Ignatius is saying the jury's out on whether McCain will prove in the future to be adequately capable of flip-flopping -- yet in the same column, Ignatius also lists two instances where McCain already flip-flopped. Ignatius writes: "Some people...have a knack for making easy compromises on the road to election, but McCain isn't one of them."
OFF THE RESERVATION. I'm sorry to admit that I'm edging into full-blown Chomskyism, but I totally don't understand why we're even debating whether or not to bomb Khartoum when the Sudanese government's already agreed to disarm the Janjaweed and halt the killing in Darfur, only to have an African Union-approved peace plan rejected by Darfuri rebels. If we're going to threaten to bomb anyone, shouldn't it be the side refusing to make peace rather than the side that has Arabs on it?
TNR AND DARFURTNR�s Adam B. Kushner went to the Save Darfur rally on Sunday, and concludes that we liberals are na�ve to think that anything short of military strikes will stop the carnage in Darfur. This seems to be the emerging line over at The New Republic. Last week, I responded to a similar argument by Lawrence Kaplan by spelling out some intermediate steps that the administration has been loathe to take but could go a very long way to pressing Khartoum to cease their aggression.